Organics: Out Of Reach
May 1, 2006
Organics: Out Of Reach
Pamela Accetta Smith
Personally, I think organic products are overrated. And I don’t believe that organic milk is better for you than non-organic milk.
I do, however, feel that organic veggies are probably better for consumers because they are supposed to be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
But the organic debate holds a more political import for me. In my opinion, eating organic is not a luxury most Americans can afford. To eat well in this country, one must have money or be educated to make the right nutritional choices.
It is sad, for example, that Whole Foods is not an option for the common consumer. Why can’t eating organic be an affordable option for everyone? I would like to see a less expensive equivalent of Whole Foods be established for the average American to benefit from this way of eating, one that seems to be more associated with the upper class. Or perhaps organic food manufacturers could find a way to lower their prices so more consumers are able to make the choice to purchase more healthful products.
What is the answer? I don’t entirely know. But I do know that eating well in this country is a benefit for the privileged, not the undereducated, less-informed consumer.
I came across some comments on the Internet by David Bruce, a farmer communications manager at Organic Valley Dairy in La Farge, Wis., who cites prices that have been on the rise since 1988 as proof that organic foods are here to stay. “It’s not just a fad,” Bruce says. “Today the supply is not keeping up with the demand, and now there is real opportunity for farmers to get involved in organic production.”
But can everyone afford to eat organic? According to Bruce, demand is especially high for organic dairy products, meaning that organic producers are being paid more than twice the amount most commercial producers are for raw milk. With demand outstripping supply, the cost of a gallon of organic milk is sometimes three times the cost of a gallon of regular milk. While the costs could level out, many in the organic industry don’t see organic food prices coming down in the near future.
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